The Fine Four
For some teams there is no disputing who belongs in netcome playoff time. Here are this year's most reliable goalies
Posted: Tuesday April 8, 2008 9:59AM; Updated: Tuesday April 8, 2008 10:00AM
Martin Brodeur, Devils
The master. His 153 consecutive postseason starts and his GAA (minimum 45 playoff appearances) are NHL records; his 22 shutouts trail only Patrick Roy's 23. A three-time Stanley Cup winner, Brodeur has averaged 42 regular-season wins over the past decade (he had 44 this year), and, at 35, he has taken New Jersey to the playoffs in all but one of his 14 seasons. "Consistency," he says, "is the key."
Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks
Nabokov has been consistently good -- if not always great -- in a playoff career that includes his brilliant play in the '04 postseason, when he took San Jose to the Western Conference finals with a 1.71 GAA. In the best shape of his sometimes injury-weakened career, the acrobatic Nabokov led the NHL with 46 wins this season and was particularly dominant down the stretch: 15-1-1 with a 1.90 GAA and .915 save percentage since Feb. 21.
Miikka Kiprusoff, Flames
In 2004 the positionally sound Finn had five shutouts while helping upstart Calgary charge to its first Stanley Cup final since 1989. The Flames haven't won a playoff round since, but Kiprusoff has almost single-handedly given them a chance. Last year against Detroit he averaged a playoff-high 39.5 saves, and though the Red Wings outshot eighth-seeded Calgary 255 to 129, the unflappable Kiprusoff pushed the series to six games before a 2-1 loss in double OT.
Jean-Sébastien Gigučre, Ducks
In his three postseasons Gigučre has won one Conn Smythe Trophy (in 2003, when his 1.62 GAA and .945 save percentage earned him the award despite the Ducks losing in the finals) and one Stanley Cup (last year, when he went 13-4 in Anaheim's final 17 games). In 44 playoff starts Gigučre has kept opponents to three goals or fewer in all but three games, and his overtime success is unparalleled: He has let in only one goal in more than 250 OT minutes.